It's no secret that the fashion world has a long way to go in representing the people we see everyday.
Still, progress is definitely being made. Take last night's Chromat show, for example. Breast-cancer survivor Ericka Hart strutted down the runway and triumphantly unzipped her plunging swimsuit to show off her scars to the crowd.
From plus size to hijab-wearing models, bodies covered head-to-toe in tattoos, as well as age diversity, the American fashion label absolutely proved its dedication to empowering women of all shapes and sizes.
Oh, and in case you missed it: Chromat is a swimwear label. These extraordinary bodies weren't hidden by swathes of clothes - they were on full show, loud and proud for the entire world to witness.
On top of an already impressively inclusive show, model-activist Mama Cax also took to the runway for the first time wearing a white prosthetic leg. Along with a cross-section of skin tones and LGBTQ+ identities, the 28-year-old wore a yellow-and-black two-piece and wrapped a string of tiny blue lights around her prosthetic leg.
At 14-years-old Cax was diagnosed with bone and lung cancer and was only given three weeks to live. She subsequently lost her right leg with an amputation at the hip.
"I probably waited a good three years before going to a swimming pool or even the beach," she said, "and that was mostly due to the fact that I was never comfortable in my body."
This month she starred on the cover of Teen Vogue along with Jillian Mercado and Chelsea Werner - two other powerful voices in the disabled community.
"The messages I've been getting since [the story dropped], I'm getting chills just talking about it," she said.
The Chromat show itself was a lot of fun. The collection riffed off wet T-shirts (a nod to the drooled-over bikini competitions women have eye-rolled at for years) and featured marble-patterned swimwear, swimming caps, high ponytails, slicked-down hair and joyous over-sized hats.
This summer, the label drafted up a list of ten 'pool rules' in keeping with the their defiant, inclusive identity. These included 'Intolerance Not Tolerated', 'Celebrate Cellulite', 'Body Policing Prohibited', and 'All Abilities Accepted' - which is where Cax comes in.
As you can see, founder Becca McCharen put those rules into practice last night and then some. Started in 2010, Chromat originally took inspiration from McCharen-Tran’s background in architecture and is renowned for its swim and athletic wear.
And if you're wondering just how powerful it can be to see a wide variety of women walk the catwalk, let Cax fill you in.
"I was doing an event the other day with a lot of girls with limb differences and in wheelchairs," she says. "They never see someone who looks like them on the cover of a magazine or on a runway, so for them, it means quite a lot."
Race you to the Chromat store?
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